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Facebook Expands Its Ecommerce Marketplace Across Europe

Challenge to eBay and Gumtree

August 16, 2017 | Retail & Ecommerce | Social Media

Facebook’s consumer-to-consumer (C2C) ecommerce platform, dubbed Marketplace, is gaining access to a slew of new markets in Europe

This week the social media giant announced that Marketplace would start being launched in 17 new countries in the region. The platform will soon land in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Top 10 Retail Sites in the Netherlands, Ranked by Unique Visitors, Feb 2017 (millions)

Facebook first launched Marketplace in the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand in October 2016, before quickly expanding it to Canada, Chile and Mexico.

Facebook has yet to charge either buyers or sellers for using Marketplace, so it won’t add to the company’s coffers for now. But the absence of any fees on Marketplace could make it an attractive platform for consumers, creating a challenge to C2C ecommerce platforms already in wide operation in Europe, such as eBay and the UK-based classifieds site Gumtree.

Unimpeded by any serious competition, eBay is among the most popular C2C ecommerce sites in several markets in Western Europe by at least one measure: unique visitors.

According to comScore data from February 2017, eBay drew more unique visitors among desktop users in the Netherlands for the month than any other retail site.

And in two of Europe’s three leading economies—Germany and the UK—eBay ranked second only to Amazon. In France, the region’s third leading economy, eBay was fourth, behind Amazon and two homegrown retail competitors.

Top 10 Retail Sites in France, Ranked by Unique Visitors, Feb 2017 (millions)

C2C ecommerce has been gaining fans in countries like France, where studies have found a majority of digital buyers make C2C purchases and do so primarily through digital platforms.

Facebook use is also commonplace in Europe. eMarketer’s latest forecast for Western Europe expects nearly 85% of the region’s social network users, and just under 55% of its internet users, to access a Facebook account at least monthly in 2017.

Facebook and other social platforms have tried and generally come up short in their attempts to get consumers to make actual purchases on their platforms. But Marketplace will have significant reach and could unsettle the region’s C2C ecommerce sector, while also boosting Facebook’s stickiness in general.

—Cliff Annicelli

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